Vending Glossary:

A list terms and definitions related to the vending machines business.


Account Retention: Keeping a customer account. A clean vending machine, that is continuously operational, and well stocked with fresh quality products will increase your account retention.

Accounting Period: Time period on which you base your regular reports. It can be monthly, quarterly or even weekly.

Accounts Payable: Money owed to a vendor.

Accounts Receivable: Money the vendor owes for delivery of product.

Administration Fee: A fee paid to cover general expenses and overhead.

Auger: The spiral that pushes the product forward in a snack vending machine.

Automatic Merchandiser: A fancy way of saying vending machine.


Bank: 1)A row of two or more vending machines. 2) Coins always left in a vending machine to make change.

Bar Code: The parallel lines used to electronically track product. Also called a UPC code.

Bean to Cup: Term for a coffee vending machine that actually grinds the bean to fulfill an individual purchase.

Bag-in-Box or BIB: A method of delivering cold drinks by using syrup bags in a box.

Bill Acceptor or Bill Validator: The device in a vending machine that accepts and reads paper money. Also just called a validator.

Bin or Slot: Separated area in a vending machine for a specific product. Can be called a column in a drink vending machine or a spiral in a snack vending machine using an auger.

Bottler Serviced Machines: Beverage vending machines serviced by the beverage bottling company.

Bulk Operator: A company or person that specializes in bulk vending.

Bulk Vending: Vending of gum balls, stickers, small toys or trinkets that are unwrapped and dispensed in a measured amount.


Capacity: The maximum amount of product that any given slot (spiral or column) can hold.

Change Fund: 1)Coins carried by a route man to replenish the bank in a machine. 2) Sometimes used as another term for bank, meaning the coins left in a machine so it can make change.

Changer: A stand alone machine that only makes change.

Channel of Distribution: Term for the types of businesses that are the locations for vending machines. For example; grocery stores, convenience stores, hotels, office buildings.

Charity sponsorship: An agreement with a charity to pay a percentage of profit to the charity in exchange for use of the organization’s logo on the vending machine. The charity sponsorship can be a strong selling point at point of sale and for securing locations.

Client: The location of a vending machine or the owner of that location.

Coin Cup: The opening where a customer gets his change in a vending machine.

Coin Mechanism: The part of a vending machine that counts the coins inserted and dispenses change. Coin mechanisms can be mechanical or electric.

Coin Return: The button you push on a vending machine to get money already inserted back.

Coin Slot: Opening where you put coins in a vending machine.

Cold Drink Machine: Vending machine that dispenses canned or bottled cold drinks.

Combination or Combo Vending Machine: A machine that delivers more than type of product, for example snacks and beverages.

Commission: A percentage of sales paid to the owner of a location for the right to place a vending machine.

Confections: A term for sweets or candies.

Concession Advance: Commission paid in advance as incentive when obtaining new locations. Also called location advance.

Cycle: How long it takes a machine to vend a single unit.


Decor: Non-functional decorations on or around vending machines.

Delisting: No longer carrying a product.

Delivery Box/Tray: The box where the product is delivered in a vending machine.

DEX: Data EXchange. Used to communicate data collected on the route.

Down Time: Time that a vending machine is not functional.

Dual Zone: A single vending machine that offers product with two different temperatures, for example snacks and cold drinks.


Escrow: A term referring to the time that starts once money has been excepted in a vending machine and can still be returned back to the customer. Once a product selection has been made, escrow has ended.


FDA Model Code 1978: Ordinance and code specifically for vending.

FIFO: First In First Out. It means that the oldest product in a vending machine should be the first product delivered to a customer. If you restock a machine with new product being delivered first, the older product can get stale.

Free Standing: A single stand alone vending machine, not a bank.

Free Vend: Setting a vending machine to deliver product at no charge. Usually done as a perk for a good location at a company party or meeting. The free vend can be a gift to say thank you or you can agree to charge the company a reduced rate for the product delivered free to its employees at a later date.

Full Line Vending: A bank of vending machines that offer cold drink, coffee, snacks and food products.


Glass Front Snack Machine: A vending machine with a glass front which allows the customer to visually select an item. Commonly used with snack machines utilizing a spiral or auger for delivery.


Health and Safety: Referring to vending machines with perishable goods that must maintain a temperature within health and safety requirements.

High Capacity: A vending machine with increased product storage capacity.

Honor Box Vending: Vending snacks and drinks with no specific charge, but relying on people to pay for the product by putting money in a cash box.


Installation: Delivering a vending machine to a location and doing everything needed to make it operational.

Installer: The person who installs vending equipment.

Inventory: 1) All of your product and equipment on hand. 2) The act of physically counting all of your product and equipment.

Invitation to Bid: When a company or location offers multiple vending services the chance to submit vending proposals.


Jackpot: When a machine malfunctions and mistakenly dispenses product and/or change money without the costumer depositing any money.



Lift gate: Device on the back of a truck used to move heavy equipment from the truck bed to the ground.

Locating company: A business whose main focus is selling vendor locations to vending business owners.

Location: The exact place a vending machine is placed.

Location Acquisition Costs: Costs in excess of normal operating expenses deems necessary for acquiring or keeping a location.

Location Manager: 1)The vending company representative responsible for one particular client installation. 2) The person designated but the location as in charge of vending related decisions.

Location Owned Vending Operations: When a big company, office complex, or school for example run their own vending operations.

Locater: A person who finds locations for vending machines.


Maintenance: Scheduled work to maintain a machine, not fixing a broken machine. Maintenance is better than repair.

Manual Vending Machine: A vending machine that operates mechanically.

Manufacturer or O.E.M.: Company that makes the vending machines for vending.

Marginal Location: Vending machine locations that are barely profitable if at all.

Merchandising: Selecting the best combination of products to offer at a specific vending location.

Meter: A device that counts and records the number of vending cycles.

Multi-Drop-Bus or MDB: Protocol which interconnects bill acceptors, card readers, and coin changers all into one.


N.A.M.A.or National Automatic Merchandising Association: The largest vending trade organization.

Non-Par: A term for restocking a machine with more or less product than normal. Restocking a machine with less than par since the location will be closed for holidays for much of the time until the next restocking would be non-par.


O.C.S. or Office Coffee System: A coffee system usually used as a perk to help secure and keep profitable locations. It can be a simple brewer and burner or a complex system with many coffee and non-coffee hot drink options.

O.E.M. or Original Equipment Manufacturer: Company that makes the vending machines for vending.

O.O.O. or Out of Order: When a machine is not working.

Operator: The person or company that owns the vending business.

Out of Stock: When a product is temporarily unavailable.


Par: The normal amount of inventory you want to keep in a machine. When restocking you refill to par which will be replacing all the inventory sold since the last restocking.

Par Out: A term for a normal service stop at a machine. It involved collecting the money, filling the coin mechanism with change and restocking the product to par.

Planogram: A diagram of specific locations for specific products in a vending machine used to maximize sales.

Product: Whatever is being sold in the vending machine.

Product markup: The difference between the cost of the product and the selling price.



Refund: Return of customer money lost in malfunctioning equipment without product delivery.

R.O.I. or Return on Investment: The amount of money earned after all expenses including taxes by a person or company in relation to the total amount of money invested. Usually ROI is expressed as a percentage.

Route: A series of vending locations on a prescribed path that are serviced by a single route person on a regular basis.

Route Person: The person who is responsible for a particular vending route.

Route Structuring: Designing routes to maximize efficiency.


Satellite Vending Machine or Slave Machine:- A vending machine that uses another host vending machine to manage the coinage and control systems.

Service Call: Going to a broken vending machine to hopefully get it operational.

Shelf Life: How much time a product has before it becomes unusable.

Shrinkage: Loss of product due to theft.

Single Zone: A vending machine with a single refrigeration temperature range.

S.K.U. or Stock Keeping Unit: A unique code number used to identify each specific type of product.

Slotting: A fee charged by vending operators to a product suppliers to guarantee placement of their product in machines.

Slugs: Any coin shaped object that is not a U.S. coin used to try and fool the coin mechanism.

Snacks: Generic term for chips, candy bars, peanuts and other convenience foods for eating between meals.

Snack Machine: A vending machine that sells chips, nuts and other snack food.

Spiral: Most popular in glass front snack vending machines, the spiral turns to dispense the product and pushes other product forward. Also called an auger.

Spoilage: How often a product spoils(is no longer consumable) in relation to how often it sells. If you sell 95 of an item for every 5 you have to throw out then that product has a spoilage of 5%.

Stops: Each location on a route is a stop.


T-Handle: The lockable door handle on a vending machine.

Telemetry: Wireless transferal of data from vending machines to a database.


U.L. or Underwriters Laboratory: An independent product safety testing organization that will certify that your machines meet federal standards.

UPC or Universal Product Code: The parallel lines used to electronically track product. Also called a bar code.


Validator: The device in a vending machine that accepts and reads paper money. Also called Bill Validator or Bill Acceptor.

Vend: A single sale of an item.

Vends: Term for the number of times a product is sold in a machine.

Vendible Packaging: Packaging on a product that makes it usable in a vending machine.

Vending: To sell by use of a mechanical device.

Vending Machine: A coin or bill operated machine that dispenses product.

Vending Operator: A company or person that specializes in stocking and servicing vending machines.